My husband had two kids from a previous marriage when we got married. I had never wanted kids, but was eager to build my life with this man and that meant including his kids. They were important to him, so were therefore now important to me. They were good kids, which was a lucky break for me and we got along well enough, but it was still a big change. I went from living by myself to sharing space with 3 other people. No matter how much you love someone, I don’t know that anything can prepare you for what a shock to the system that is. We had no established, rules, patterns or norms and that’s a hard place for me to be personally. I like routine and had gotten used to being in charge of my space. While we were rearranging the living room as we moved things in and prepared for us to all be under one roof, and I completely lost my shit – full on snotty, hiccuping, inability to speak ugly cry. I knew the changes were coming and that I wanted them in theory, but I was so unprepared for the reality of the change and seeing it reflected in the space was just overwhelming. And it felt like I had failed already – this was still supposed to be our honeymoon period! I was supposed to be blissfully happy with my new husband and my new life and I was just uncomfortable. I didn’t know what was happening, I didn’t know where life would take us and there were suddenly many more variables involved. I was fortunate enough to have a couple really close friends to lean on, but I was the first one in my group of friends to marry into a blended family. I got creative with my circle of support and expanded it. I talked with my aunt, who had a child from a previous marriage and married my uncle who also had a child from his first marriage. I went to a colleague at work who was a little older than I was and asked if she had any friends who would be willing to talk with me. And these women were amazing – they validated my feelings and I no longer felt so alone. I felt less like this was my fault and more like this was a hard situation. And I bought myself a ridiculously expensive lamp for the living room. With as much change as I was experiencing, it was important for me to still see myself reflected in that new space. A supportive network and a little retail therapy was an incredibly powerful combination. -C,36
Self-care? Yes, please!